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Friday, February 13, 2009

First Love

Well, do you remember?

I’m not sure whom I should count as my first love because there are a couple of contenders, the first being the pastor’s little boy when I was in kindergarten. Smitten? I liked him so much that I talked a mile a minute around him, and my only memory of him now is his telling me, “You talk so fast I can’t understand you.”

The other candidate for my first-love memory is my high school sweetheart. I thought I would marry him someday, but it turned out that we each married other people one day apart in our hometown. Years later, I met up with him again, and he confessed to being a terrible husband--a serial adulterer--and I was stunned. I have never stopped thanking God for sparing me the fate of being his wife.

Still, in my heart of hearts, I know there is a deeper first love than all of these. Maybe you’re guessing it’s my dad, but even before my earthly father reportedly danced a jig on the day I was born, my heavenly Father loved me. In fact 1 John 4:19 says, “We love him because he first loved us.” God loved me before I was capable of returning love.

I believe that Jesus is God’s clearest expression of his love for us, and it is Jesus who is my shining knight on a white horse, my savior, and in essence, my first love.

But I didn’t always feel that way. For a time, the focus of my existence and devotion was to my boyfriend (now husband). Through some hard lessons, the Lord showed me that although my husband is a good man, he is not a “god-man.” That is, he cannot be, nor was he intended to be, my all-in-all, go-to source for having all of my needs met. That is not who God created him to be, nor is it any husband’s role.

But we lose sight of our first love sometimes, and we seek affirmation and significance in other people or things. Then, of course, we feel dejected, misunderstood, under-appreciated and resentful.

Ironically, that kind of emotional pain is often what it takes to help us remember that as great as earthly love is, there’s no comparison to the sacrificial, faithful love of Christ, and that’s the way it should be.

Jesus always understands me, now matter how fast I talk to him! He is faithful even when I am prone to wander: “If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is" (2 Timothy 2:13). May I never take his faithful love for granted; may I never allow my devotion to my “First Love” grow cold as the Ephesians had in Revelation 2:4-5.

I have a lot to be thankful for on this Valentine’s Day. I’ve been married 23 years to a wonderful man who helps clean house, plunges toilets, occasionally bathes my little dog and brings me coffee every morning, which is no small favor, since I imagine that experience is like sticking your arm through the cage bars of a grizzled old lioness who has morning breath.

Yes, he’s a keeper.

My husband is a gift from the Lord, the very best earthly gift I could have received. But more importantly, I treasure the Giver of the gift, and that keeps the “Valentine’s Day” earthly kind of love in perspective. In other words, my First Love deserves first place in my heart.

I hope that you recognize your “First Love” today and spend a few intimate moments with him.

Questions:

1. What valuable lessons have you learned through earthly love relationships?
2. If you wrote a love letter to God today, what would it say?
3. Are you in danger of allowing your love for Jesus to grow cold, as the Ephesians did? If so, what could you do today to remember and re-focus your love?




Please visit Linda Crow at her personal blog:

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7 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

God is my forever valentine, He has my heart forever.

February 13, 2009 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Linda your ability to cut through all the muck that runs through my brain is amazing. When I read your words about your husband I always see that your love for him comes from The One who loves us best.

Thank you for your amazingly beautiful post our amazing Creator.

February 13, 2009 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger mom2six said...

Lovely! I have learned to put others first through earthly love relationships (husband, children, etc.) I also would have to thank God for not allowing me to marry the first man I thought I would marry. For providing me with the perfect husband for me (married 25 years in April). For giving me daily grace with our six children. But mainly for giving me the gift of His love.

Thanks for the wonderful reminder to focus on the first and best lover of our souls!

In Jesus,

February 13, 2009 at 9:46 AM  
OpenID alittleilife said...

We all have a Valentine, the Best Valentine, every day of the year. Let's show Him how much we love Him back!!

February 13, 2009 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

That's the kind of reminder we could all use about once a week! (So, could you email me once a week maybe?)

Happy V. Day!!

February 13, 2009 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Alexia said...

A great reminder for us single gals on V-day (and every day)! Thanks!

February 14, 2009 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

What a beautiful thought about our first love! Thank you for redirecting my focus.

February 16, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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